- Published: October 20, 2022
- Updated: October 20, 2022
- Language: English
- Downloads: 9
Any television show can provide an escape from reality reality meaning the day-to-day issues of our lives. But by basing a television program on reality the creators give an audience material to relate to. Thereby drawing the audience further into this world where, seemingly, their problems do not exist.
Unfortunately for the audience, they very much remain in this “ reality” where their problems do exist. What’s happening is a shift in focus on the viewer’s part. Instead of thinking, “ Maybe I should be doing my homework,” the viewer might be thinking, “ This is an excellent episode of Family Guy.” The former thought being that of “ reality”; the latter of the “ escape.”
No matter how immersed in that “ excellent” episode of Family Guy the viewer may be, that homework still needs done and it’s not going to get done until they stop watching television. Not only does this make TV an “ escape from reality” it makes it a tool for procrastination as well.
Now, this is not to say that everyone who watches television is using it to put off work. You may not have any business whatsoever to tend to and are therefore sitting down to watch television to past the time. Television may be a means of breaking away from your life in general, whether you have problems to forget about or not. This is not necessarily an attempt at escaping reality but instead it is a way of shifting from one reality to another. This becomes even more so if the events portrayed on television begin to seep into your thoughts while you are not watching. If you wonder whether or not Pam and Jim invited Michael to their wedding on The Office while you’re playing basketball with your buddies or working on a project for school then this crisscrossing of realities is happening to you.
But is this really a crisscrossing of reality? Are the programs on television really any separate from our daily lives? Isn’t what we perceive on television a reflection of our experiences in everyday life? It usually is, but I do not believe it is always accurate in its representation. The relationships, situations, and interactions portrayed on television are usually designed to attract an audience. They are often exaggerated or shaped to convey the point that the creators are trying to pursue. I do not believe, though, that we would pick up on these points if it were not for some history of experience to draw upon. In fact, the very thing that often makes television amusing is the creator’s portrayal of a common situation in lighter fashion.
One of my favorite programs on television is Greg Daniels’ American adaptation of the British comedy series, The Office. I enjoy this program for many reasons but one reason that sticks out above all others is the portrayal of fictional manager Michael Scott by actor Steve Carell. Michael Scott is the co-manager of the Scranton branch of Dunder Mifflin, a fictional paper distribution company. If you watch just one episode of The Office you are likely to realize that Michael Scott is perhaps not totally fit to be a manager. He’s prone to making bad decisions, bad jokes, and bad relationships. In spite of this, he still believes himself to be an excellent at what he does.
His employees on the other hand think quite the opposite. Although they usually put up with him they are reluctant to participate in his shenanigans. They rarely take his advice and if they do so it’s with a grain of salt. If they can avoid him at all, they will (and they quite often try). No matter how hard they try to help him he usually gets the wrong idea and falters.
If you’ve ever held a job you may be able to relate to this. Being able to relate like this helps us better understand what’s happening in the show and in turn, helps us to enjoy the show more deeply. The more deeply a viewer or audience can appreciate a show the more likely they will come back week after week to watch a new episode. Thus, the producer or creator of the show is doing his or her job.
What’s important to recognize here is the connection between the fictional world and the “ reality” we live in. It’s the reality the viewer takes part in outside the realm of television that allows he or she to open up to the programs they watch. When someone who has spent the better part of their day at work, interacting with co-workers, doing strenuous activity, whether mentally or physically, the last thing they want to do is go home and keep on working (this may be a generalization, but I think it’s the point of view most people would take). TV allows them to do that.
In, fact TV requires very little effort at all. If you can see with your eyes or hear with your ears then you can partake in television programming. Television as a whole is open to a wide variety of people. When you begin to focus on the shows individually you may see the need to specify a reason for watching. This reason is where, I believe, the essence of “ escaping reality” lies. If you are watching a program on The History Channel then your focus is diverted towards learning factual information. If you are watching an episode of The Simpsons then your focus is diverted by comedy and pure entertainment. No matter what the reason is, when you are watching television you are not participating in any other form of activity. Otherwise, if you are, the phrase “ escape from reality” goes right out the window.
This may not pertain to everyone’s view of the phrase, “ escape from reality” but I believe it applies to most. Regardless of how much TV you watch you will always be sitting in that chair or standing on your feet and those two things will always be a part of reality (this includes laying in bed too).
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